Since I started shooting weddings, I’ve gotten a chance to have conversations that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. One of those particular conversations goes something like this:
Friend: Ryan, I really like your videos!
Me: Thanks! I’m so glad you like them…
Friend: I wish we had gotten videography for our wedding…
Some of the time, these are people who got married a longer time ago when video was inaccessible or when the best of wedding videography was Uncle Bob wandering around the wedding venue with his handy-dandy camcorder. However, videography, wedding videography in particular, has evolved way beyond that in the last 7-8 years. For couples in 2017 interested in recording their special moments, it’s beneficial to do some looking.
This blog post is a gentle appeal to not let go to waste a great opportunity to capture your special day
when the food and cake are eaten,
When the flowers have wilted,
When the decorations have been packed up and thrown away,
When the limo has left
You’ll be left with only three things: your photos, your videos, and each other.
Here’s the problem I see: people who have events – couples, individuals and organizations alike – want to have some record of the event. So what do they do? They hire a photographer (or assign someone to take pictures) almost instinctively. Great – now we can know who was there. But what about the parts of the life that we don’t experience with our eyes? Admittedly, I have a bias as I write this. However, I’ve been on both sides of the videography equation and I’ll share my own wedding experience further down.
I’ve captured events as both a photographer and a videographer, and they both have different focuses. It really is a shame to see so many great speeches and wedding vows lost in time. This is partly why I focus on cinema when it comes to events.
Before I get into what you’re missing without videography, I want to provide some context to my points
- When I mention “videography”, I’m primarily referring to the simple act of having the event objectively and candidly recorded. All the cinematography, or fancy films, is a bonus.
- I’m NOT a photography hater! In fact, I am also a photographer and I really respect what those professionals do. I think photography has an important place in the world.
- Generally, you get what you pay for. If you get a high-end service, you get high-end results. The opposite is true, and if you spend nothing at all, well yeah…
- For the 99% of us, budget is a constraint – I get it. We do the best with what we have and minimize the resulting debt.
- It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get videography, or good videography at that. The planet will explode independent of your wedding. And if it doesn’t, your life will go on.
If a picture can speak a thousand words, then how much does the video?
It’s a given to get a photographer for an important event but honestly, knowing what I know now, I would prioritize a video.
Because photography cannot capture sounds. Let’s look at a wedding. If you sat down and wrote the most moving and deepest pledge to your spouse, the moment you utter the words, they are at the mercy of memory (for some people, that might be a good thing – haha!). If your best friend slaved over a speech for you and it made you cry, better bottle those tears because that speech is gone. I mean, you can keep paper records of these but you and I know it’s not the same.
Because photography cannot capture movement. Yes, you can depict movement in photos – but you’re only grabbing a very small fraction of a second of that flash mob you and the wedding party planned for the reception. Any performances that happen at your event are gone without video. If you and your fiancé took dancing lessons so you could stun the crowd during your first dance, you won’t be able to see how it went. In fact, without video, the bride in particular will miss out on a few parts of the day that she planned so diligently because she’s usually the last one to enter at most parts of the day.
When Meghan and I were getting married in 2009, videography wasn’t even on our radar and, as a result, we missed out. However, we got lucky – there was an “Uncle Bob” at our wedding (for whom my wife and I are super grateful). A friend of ours came with his own camcorder and, unbeknownst to us, he was quietly capturing key moments of the day. The day was such a blur and we honestly don’t remember him doing it. A few weeks later, he hands us two DVDs with a hand-written heart and the title, “Congratulations Ryan and Meghan” . We put them into our PS3 and watched the shaky, poorly lit video with awe. It was definitely one of the best wedding gifts we got. When people came over, we sat down and showed them moments of interest. We didn’t need to awkwardly explain anything – it was right there.
When our kids grow up and ask us what we were like or how our wedding was, we can show them and they can watch AND listen. Imagine if we had gotten a professional to do it!
Side note: I later found a way to get the videos off the DVD, archived them and made a little highlight for Meghan on our 5th anniversary.
“My husband and I were not sure at first whether to get a videographer for our wedding ceremony or not, but man, are we glad we decided to get one! […] We have watched our video almost a hundred times and we are still amazed every time we watch it at how perfect it is. It captured our personalities and our love so vividly. […]
– Yusra A.
But why do people think like this? I still meet people, grooms in particular, who confess that they never knew their wedding could be captured in clear HD video.
Photography has been around longer and, more importantly, has been accessible to “regular” people for much longer than video. Before DSLRs (DSLR = basically, professional digital cameras with big, interchangeable lenses), you’d have to sell your first child or know someone in the industry to get an exceptional wedding video; it was really only for the high-end crowd. But as technology has started to fall into the people’s hands more and the indie filmmaker industry has exploded, it’s much easier to access cinematic video. Even Uncle Bob can get some great shots in HD on wide screen.
This is not to say we’re boys and girls with toys coming to your event. Rather, it’s now easier for professionals to up their game and deliver much higher quality products to clients in all levels of the market. Really though!
Now that you’re convinced and you’d like to consider preserving your event in video, just go to my contact page. Joking (but am I?)! Here’s some advice as you look for media for your wedding or event:
- Research BEFORE you allocate the budget. I’ve had a number of brides humbly admit that they had no idea how much good quality photography and videography services would cost but they blindly allotted a budget. It’s a very challenging process to capture a live event with no do-overs in working situations that are seldomly ideal so try not to be too surprised at how much they cost. The photo and video people train constantly and invest in quality gear for the job (for the most part).
- Do your research by finding a style you like. Google local vendors and watch their videos. Watch your friends’ wedding videos. Get an informed idea of the range you need to spend to get what you want. Then count the cost. In fact, you could apply this to any vendor for your event.
Because videography is probably among the youngest in the wedding industry, it is one of the least prioritized. But it’s one of the few that last long beyond the wedding day. If that’s the case, then invest accordingly. Maybe you can:
- cut some guests’ plus-ones
- Get less flowers
- Get a simpler cake
- Cut the photo booth
No one ever walked away from their wedding thinking, “Oh man, we shouldn’t have gotten a video done“. Conversely, you’ll never hear, “I’m so glad we didn’t go with a videographer”
You don’t have to book Aperture Lane, or even another high quality videography team, but get your video. Don’t be that old couple with mild regret in their heart that says, “Wish we got a video for our wedding”. Don’t do this especially if you’re getting married in this day and age. Come on – it’s 2017!
Because your family that couldn’t make it to the wedding
will be grateful!
If you have a friend that’s planning a wedding, be a good friend and send them this article. Seriously, how selfish do you need to be not to – hehehe. After all, friends don’t let friends get married without videography.
I wanted to leave you with a short video of the couples that joined the Aperture Lane Familia in 2015. They’re definitely going to have their event for safe-keeping and ready to share.